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Thursday 3rd August, 2017
The Unoffical month of Spring is here!!!
I am not one of those who don't have anything other than coffee for breakfast but always start the day off with a good feed and Muesli is one of my favs. Delicious with fresh fruit like Blueberries or a home grown diced apple or what ever is seasonally available from our fruit trees or bushes in the garden. There is also a store of preserved peaches, nectarines, plums, pearsetc that we have bottled from last summer that also go well with home toasted muesli. Top your plate up with a good dollop of a quality Yoghurt...... hmm just yum and it lasts for ages as I don't get hungry until well into the day.
I must confess that I only like toasted Muesli and am biased but really prefer the stuff that I make myself. To that end I have been on a roll lately and last night was my second batch of homemade toasted muesli.
I do like to make my own as then I can choose what I put into each batch and those packets from the supermarket seem such small amounts and are all gone in just a couple of platefuls. I always make a lot so that I don't have to do again too soon usually ending up with two 20 litre buckets that lasts us about 4 to 6 weeks ..
Now you choose what goes into you own muesli but generally I use oats of varying sorts as the base with Bran, wheat germ, coconut threads, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seed, various nuts ... just up to you and what you like, dress the large oven trays of all the mixed oats seeds and nuts with plain olive oil and honey and toast in the oven turning frequently until the mixture become a light honey tanned colour. Cool overnight
In another bowl I mix dried fruits that I like, currants, sultanas, raisins, cranberries, diced figs, apricots, dates or whatever is in the cupboard and then mix the whole lot together in the morn. If you make a lot, like I do, then store it in a couple of 10 litre pails with airtight lids like I bought just to keep bulk muesli in...
Hedges are cool... practical, stylish and elegant!!
There are a few hedges at our place and I just love them and the look that they create. One of my favourite garden looks is simply a nice lawn ended with a well manicured hedge that is set in front of some elegant ornamental trees.
Not only are hedges attractive but also functional in the fact that they provide for separate spaces, make for privacy, create shelter and the list goes on. In term of expense they are usually more affordable than building one out of wood or other materials. Pete's cottage is surrounded by a stunning Camellia (Gay Baby) hedge and was planted purely to designate his private space and to give privacy. It did take a few years to achieve this but those formative years go quickly and this hedge has now provided some 18 years of it purpose.
The Nursery roadside hedge also is pretty stunning with classic green foliage, smart sharp lines with those handsome Dogwoodsout on the road side that sit gracefully above completing the picture. The roadside has many purposes. From privacy, wind protection, security (Holly is very prickly) and at the time was very affordable. I cannot begin to imagine surrounding our nursery with wind cloth and wire like most of the other garden centres.
The Villa was also about creating a space as well so that when we lived in the house we were completely separate from the nursery yet the house is such a part of the landscape. In this instance we used hornbeamwhich is a deciduous hedge which has also fulfilled its function really well.
I hear you you ask about the maintenance but that's easy .... two trims a year, one after the spring flush and the other after the Autumn flush. If you do this then the job is a piece of cake as you are just cutting off one growth flush, but if you leave it and trim after two growth flushes then its three times the task as the wood or growth thickens and takes more work. A good motorised hedge trimmer on a place our size is a good investment too.
Well choices are endless and there are way more plants that you could use than sayGriseliniaand Pittosporumwhich I guess are chosen because they are quick and most people know these ones.
Camellias would probably be one of my top choices due to availability, a tad slower that those NZ natives but certainly very robust in terms of performance and longevity. Any Camelliacan probably be hedged but the Sasanqua'sare the traditional choice with a slightly smaller but still classic green leaves. Flowers are a bonus and white is still popular. There is a newish range available, the Paradise series, that have certainly brought more choice of cultivars to this species.
Other Camellia species and cultivars can also lend themselves to hedging, for example Transnokoensis which we have a very smart hedge of down the back and the bees just love it when in flower especially so as there isn't much else in flower at that time of year.
Laurus Nobilis or Bay tree and we must have had 25 years at least out of our hedge and its still going strong. Again classic green leaves which are good for cooking too, evergreen and hardy responding well to even a very harsh cut back.
Carpinus and Fagus, or Hornbeam and Beech hedges are tough and hardy, wind tolerant and make for a way nice hedge. These two do lose their leaves but for me the seasonality is the key. I love all the seasons from those new spring green leaves, mature summer green, Autumn yellows to brown and then the nakedness of winter. Even in winter though the hedge does obscure vision or being able to be seen through, besides who sun bathes nude in the winter LOL
Take a gander at the the evergreen oakQuercus Ilex which would be ideal for a hedge from 1.5 to 4 metres This oak is used a lot in Europe and its very tough and hardy and is quite an attractive blue green.
New Zealand Totarais perfect for hedging too, particularly suited to our climate fine leaves that will eventually clip into quite a tight hedge and will suit again from 1.5 to 4 metres or what ever you can manage to clip up to.. there is a very nice form called Matapouri Blue
The Hollys orIlex will also clip well, are evergreen and make for an awesome hedge though these will prefer full sun and good drainage and are a tad slower than other genus. However its worth remembering that slower usually means a longer life span and perhaps less maintenance. Ilex burfordiiis a self berrying holly with an attractive lime green leaf, Ilex Blue Angel has a blackish blue green leaf Ilex Angustifolia has a fine dark green leaf that would suit being a medium sized hedge.
I can't leave out the classic Photinia Red Robin which has been around for years and all will know it for its famous new growth that is a bright and showy red. Another robust and hardy choice.
The tricks to having an impressive hedge is like all things in life and that is; do prepare and maintain well because you will reap what you contribute.
Prepare the ground and plant at no further than a metre apart, 70 cm can be good for effect or small grade plants. Mulch in between without mulching against the plants. Feed prior to Spring and Autumn. Keep weed free as the hedge establishes as weeds steal the food and occupy space that you want the hedge to grow into. Trim the new growth once it has hardened off to force the hedge to become dense and let it increment slowly to the height you require. Once at the desired height then be strict at maintaining the hedges proportions as an extra inch isn't always desirable.
Last weekend was just beautiful and I hope that you all took advantage of the gorgeous fine weather to prune your roses and fruit trees. If you haven't then it is the time to be planning to get the task done because spring bud burst isn't that far away now. Don't forget that you need a nice fine and dry day to undertake this task... firstly because its pleasant for us to be out in the garden and secondly moist damp and wet weather can transmit the fungal infection of silver leaf. Remember winter pruning has to be completed prior to bud burst and I'm watching those rose buds all starting to plump up in readiness as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer.
All this wet and cool weather is also perfect for that insidious disease downy mildew.. I always think that its such a sneaky fungal infection as often there may be no symptoms but rather just the new leaves drop off and a bad infection will kill the entire bud, then the next bud down will try to grow and the same thing will happen. Rain is really good at spreading fungal infections as the spores bounce up from the infected fallen leaves every time it rains. New leaves are particularly susceptible to infection as they have such a new and soft leaf cuticle/surface. Leaves on roses that are leafing up early also get damaged by the frosts like what we have just had which also provide microscopic entry sites for downy mildew.
If you are looking for symptoms other than falling leaves you can sometime see a faint purple blotching or marking on the leaves but fallen leaves are a dead giveaway.
New seasons roses are more prone to downy mildew as they are usually much more advanced than roses already in the garden. I suggest to spray with a product calledPerkfectionon your roses which will help combat this sneaky fungal issue.
Late August is also the time to be feeding your roses, well all of the garden as all of the new growth that will be coming will be kick started with a whole lot of available nutrients. Use proper rose fertilser and ideally apply just before or on bud burst and apply on a wet day so that the ferts dissolve and are in solution in the soil. Now rose food alone is not enough so good well rotted compost applied in the winter is all good and any other organic fert like Bioboostandsheep pellets will balance out the diet. Remember roses are gross feeders and like lots of food and the more you provide the better they will perform.
Some of my favs for winter and a new tree
Chimonanthus praecox or most will know this as Winter Sweet. I always marvel at its ability to bloom in the winter with those translucent amazingly fragrant lemon yellow flowers. A nice size shrub at approx 2 metres high and a must to squeeze into the garden if for nothing else but that fragrance in the winter.
Cornus Sibirica just astounds in the winter with its bright red stems that just glow. An easy shrub to grow with mid green leaves in the summer and umbel like white flowers in the spring
Smoke bush I have added in here because I am intrigued with the plumy grey flowers that this shrub has in the spring. Could be trained as a small tree, the leaves have stunning autumn colours. There is a range of cuyltivars that have coloured leaves... check outGrace, Golden Spirit and Red spirit that we currently have in stock.
Acer Globosum... This tree is a newbie to me and I have to say that I got them in stock as it sounds like an attractive rounded ball shaped tree and I like maples ... Globosum kinda conjures up that image doesn't it? Follow the link through and have a read.
The potting is all but over now, ornamental and fruit trees are all in bar a few bits and pieces and this month the nursery can get back to normal for all the team. It means that we can focus back on the gardens, work in the garden centre space and start the planning for next years stock indents.
We have been lucky to have a fabulous group this year that have done the best and most efficient potting season yet and this includes the admin team as well and so a big thanks to each and everyone of them for this. If you have had orders with us and not been notified then please be in touch and for those that we have been unable to supply, our apologies and can we suggest an alternative.
Editors note. I have just seen some gorgeous trees arrive. Blue Totara, Kahikatea, and Rewa Rewa are big and beautiful. Cryptomeria japonica and Cryptomeria japonica Egmont also looking stunning. Lots of Feijoa trees in different varieties are just in as well. Check these all out on our Just Arrived page.
OMG Maybe two gorgeous weekends in a row... we all can't complain about that.. what ever you are doing enjoy this fabulous weather... get pruning and set that garden up for spring.
from Lloyd, Harry and the Wairere Team
Make it a Wairere weekend where even GNOMES know that gardening's not a drag.